Stirling Scotland, home of the William Wallace Monument, is in between the cities Glasgow (Glas-"go") and Edinburgh (Edinbur-"EH"). Glasgow is the city where all the action took place in the film Trainspotting. Planned academic field trips were about to begin by way of Stirling University, where I was studying abroad, so I inquired of my program director about skateshops in the cities we would be visiting for school functions and he let me know that some of his family members who skated said great things about Focus Skateshop, which has a presence in both Glasgow and Edinburgh. During a school trip to view religious artifacts at the St. Mungo Museum in Glasgow, hitting up Focus Skateshop became a priority, in order to see how the Scots rep the skate scene. After some good leads that pointed me in the right direction, a mad dash was underway to Focus Skateshop's supposed location.
Under a road overpass I saw the sign for the shop and upon entering, immediately on display front and center were the latest from the SB line. There was an extensive shoe selection that I was thoroughly impressed with, and there seemed to be some exclusives I had not seen elsewhere. I conversated with the employees for a bit, explaining that I was from the States, and they were stoked at my interest in their shop and Scotland's skate scene. They gave me solid information for nearby skate spots/parks and filled me in on their shoes and clothing lines, as well as special events and happenings sponsored by Focus Skateshop. I had to peace out to catch the bus but I promised that I would return to their shop by train in the coming days. They also told me about their Edinburgh shop, which I visited the next week and snagged a Focus shop shirt, one black and the other gray.
A bit of history about Focus Skateshop
According to the snippet at visitscotland, the founders are Sibs and Stew, two skaters with over ten years of experience working in the industry jointly. They felt "need for a pure skateshop," and both of them fans of skate clothes and shoes, they directed their collective energy "with the aim of helping and promoting Scottish skateboarding whilst selling the clothes and sneakers we like." They achieved their goal with the April 2001 opening of Focus Edinburgh and then followed their success with the opening of Focus Glasgow in December 2005. According to Sibs and Stew, "The shop has evolved over the years, hooking up exclusive brands, limited edition releases, rare imports and supplying core favourites." To be appreciated, Focus Skateshop has a sincere interest with the locals, as Sibs and Stew put it best: "Like all good stores we draw from the community around us with creative input from friends in many forms, not to mention the shop team which consists of a serious percentage of the best riders in Scotland." Pure skateshops are endangered by the advent of conglomerate mall stores that pose passionate for skateboarders by selling skate gear, clothes, and shoes but at heart see skaters as currency symbols rolling by on planks of wood.
If anyone from the States gets a chance to visit Scotland, be sure to check out Focus Skateshop in Glasgow and Edinburgh in order to support a pure skateshop operated by skaters who eat, breath, sleep, and wake for skateboarding.